Available soon: In the future there will be more ‘adapter pieces’ to make the barrel more versatile in terms of plant size and medium used.
One important part is the one providing just 1 centered 2-inch net pot. It will make the spacing very variable using the closed parts and the parts with two 2-inch net pot inserts interchangeably to assemble your ring segments. This piece will be available from September 2019!
Available soon: In order to be able to use working and versatile existing irrigation with various flow rates, we are building a Netafim-aponix adapter
Adding to the sprinkler and the waterbuffer (flow rate 160l/h) that can be used to set up irrigation of vertical barrels, there are also very suitable spray nozzles from Netafim that have a much lower flow rate and can irrigate for longer periods. The adapter (dark grey) clicks onto our top lid and fixes a Netafim drip stop part (the elliptical piece), which is an ideal part to connect different types of spray nozzles to the irrigation line. Usually the individual sprayers are connected using standard 6mm tubing operating at a pressure (using pressure reducer) of 2bars and then the drip stop kicks in at 1.5 bars. Flow rates will then be reduced to Vibronet 40l/h, Spinnet 70l/h and Coolnet 7.5l/h). The adapter will be available as of the end of 2019.
Supplemental or full artificial lighting is a challenge
Because of the shape and nature of one or more vertical cylinders/barrels of variable height, adding radiation to setups is tricky.
One solution would be just surround the barrel surface with your plants with flexible LED ribbons like they are used in shipping containers using ZipGrow towers.
If you are operating in a greenhouse and you are in a location with enough radiation, diffusing glaring will do the trick. But not everybody has a nice greenhouse at hand.
This is why we will come up with a rotation solution for the vertical barrels. The construction is already done and looks like in the construction on the right. There are 2 rotational ‘propellers’ using a gliding disc. We can use the top lid as base just like in the hanging version of the vertical barrel. On longer production lines there might be a need to elevate the barrels in order to catch the liquid draining in the middle with enough slope for the gravity based circulation.
Once we can rotate the barrels, we can use the standard lights again.
Roller base to move around the closed base
Using the closed base in substrate based barrel setups or for soilless standalone vertical barrels is much more fun if you can also move these heavy objects around. For this purpose the closed base already has kind an area integrated that will hold on to a triangle metal base. Currently we only offer the construction for users so they can weld them locally themselves. See PDF on the manual page. The plan is to get this piece also in series and offer it for people who do not want to weld themselves and equip the thing with 3 heavy weight rolls. This will also make the filled and planted soil based barrels be transportable by a forklift. Which might be very useful if you like to handle many of them.
Inside logic for the substrate based vertical barrel
We often hear that the amount of substrate required to fill a vertical substrate based barrel is too much. True, that is why we always put a wire mesh inside and used it as draining column. The substrate/compost is the only filled into the space between the column and the shelves.
In order to make things more versatile and professional to set up, there will be another lego-part to assemble the inside. Using 3 pieces in that case to assemble a ring segment. The closed base already has a line engraved that will keep the inside column in place. With this piece you can grow your inside column with the usual ring segments.
You can leave the inside completely empty or fill it with hydroton or whatever you like – use it for your own irrigation solution, vermicomposting etc.
Planned: Substrate based building blocks for public spaces – XL version
This is another extension to make the aponix vertical barrel available for public spaces – vandalism proof. We call it the XL or city version. It uses 9 ring segments per level (diameter 95cm) and is much more robust. It requires manual integration into a larger urban planting context along for example roads or bicycle lanes. Pieces can optionally be fixed using metal rivets or also metal inlays inside and rivets. The base will be made of steel and is mounted into a larger container that also serves as water reservoir for low maintenance. From here other extensions are possible like autonomous irrigation using a solar panel, a small submerged pump, a timer and an integrated battery (see image below).